Bermudian pair jailed in England
Two Bermudian nationals living in Britain have been jailed after detectives uncovered a plot to smuggle more than $30,000 worth of cocaine into England.
Drugs mule Sharnell Simmons arrived in Hull on a ferry from the Netherlands on August 28 last year, with two packages of cocaine glued to the insoles of her shoes, according to a report in the Hull Daily Mail.
But Simmons, who worked as a cleaner at the ferry terminal, panicked while waiting in the arrivals lounge and tried to hide the drugs on a table, while her accomplice, Kyle Lightbourne, who travelled with her, tried to distract staff by talking to them.
At Hull Crown Court, Lightbourne, 36, was jailed for six years, and Simmons, 41, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
The court heard that although both had family contacts in their native Bermuda, they met in England and Lightbourne had “pressured” Simmons, a former pub singer, into carrying the drugs with the promise of helping her nephew, who had become “embroiled in gang culture in Bermuda”.
Lightbourne had moved to Britain three years earlier to look after his teenage son, a member of Stoke City’s football academy, because the boy’s mother had moved back to Bermuda after her brother’s murder.
Prosecutor Richard Thompson said: “They arrived in the port of Hull from Rotterdam by ferry. Having proceeded to passport control, they were asked to wait while other passengers disembarked so that passport and nationality tests could be completed and their luggage searched.
“In the arrivals area, it was apparent, the Crown say, from that point they were likely to be searched, so Ms Simmons set about seeking to dispose of the drugs concealed by the insoles of the shoes she was wearing.
“Initially, she went to use the toilet, but she was followed by an alert member of Border Agency staff. Once back in the waiting area, CCTV footage shows her removing her shoes, leaning over a headrest to a table behind her, and clearly disposing of something on that table underneath tourist information leaflets.”
Lightbourne also tried to cover the drugs with leaflets and then spoke to Border Agency staff as a distraction.
Mr Thompson said: “Checks were carried out in relation to their identity, and they were about to be allowed to proceed when a member of staff cleaning the arrivals hall discovered two packages concealed under a pile of leaflets, so the two defendants were arrested.”
The two packages had a combined weight of 307 grams, were of more than 50 per cent purity, and had an estimated street value of £24,500.
Lightbourne, of Ascension Road, Romford, and Simmons, of Cawood Green, Sheffield, both admitted evading the prohibition on the importation of cocaine.
Giles Grant, representing Simmons, said she had mental health problems, and “since her conviction she has been concerned and frightened about the consequences about those perhaps associated with the co-accused.
“She feels frightened and vulnerable and is concerned for others for the outcome of her being caught, the loss of the product, and the consequences.”
She was being “supervised” on the journey by Lightbourne, Mr Grant said.
Simmons had no previous convictions. Lightbourne had none in Britain, but had two convictions for possessing cannabis in Bermuda, and one for possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Helen Chapman, for Lightbourne said he got involved in the plot because he “found himself short of money. He fell in with individuals involved in the drugs world, and of course, he only has himself to blame”.
• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.
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